Love­land po­lice of­fi­cers cleared

District at­tor­ney says four cops had “no choice” in fa­tal shoot­ing.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Noelle Phillips

Four Love­land Po­lice De­part­ment of­fi­cers will not face crim­i­nal charges in con­nec­tion with a June shoot­ing that killed a mo­tor­cy­clist who fired two shots at them.

Of­fi­cers Sean McDonald, Stephen Mar­chio, Ge­off Reeves and Matthew Sy­chla fired their guns af­ter the mo­tor­cy­clist, Stephen Scott Rich, fired first, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter writ­ten by Eighth Judicial District At­tor­ney Clif­ford E. Riedel to Love­land Po­lice Chief Robert Ticer.

“Stephen Rich left the of­fi­cers no choice but to fire their weapons in self­de­fense,” the let­ter said.

Sy­chla was on pa­trol in Love­land at 10:11 p.m. on June 8 when he saw a mo­tor­cy­clist make an im­proper turn. Sy­chla fol­lowed the mo­tor­cy­cle and ac­ti­vated his lights af­ter see­ing the mo­tor­cy­clist make sev­eral other traf­fic vi­o­la­tions.

The mo­tor­cy­clist fled, and Sy­chla called off his pur­suit af­ter the mo­tor­cy­clist ran a red light. Sy­chla de­ter­mined a chase would cre­ate a public safety risk.

About 13 min­utes af­ter Sy­chla first saw the mo­tor­cy­clist, a mo­torist called to re­port a mo­tor­cy­clist had struck his car and that he had fol­lowed the mo­tor­cy­clist to a res­i­dence. The caller said the mo­tor­cy­clist was “spook­ing him out,” the let­ter said.

The four of­fi­cers re­sponded to the scene. The of­fi­cers, the 911 caller and a friend of his all said the mo­tor­cy­clist, who later was iden­ti­fied as Rich, walked away. Rich then reached be­hind his back and pulled out a hand­gun, the let­ter said.

Rich fired two shots from a Glock semi-au­to­matic pistol, the let­ter said. The four of­fi­cers si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­turned fire. Footage from a po­lice car’s cam­era showed that less than two sec­onds elapsed be­tween Rich’s first shot and the of­fi­cers re­turn­ing fire.

“Based upon all of the ev­i­dence, I find Stephen Rich un­law­fully placed all four of­fi­cers’ lives at risk,” Riedel wrote. “Ad­di­tion­ally, the of­fi­cers right­fully be­lieved that the lives of the two in­no­cent civil­ians who had placed the call to po­lice were at risk.”

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